Deal comes just in time

New 5-year la­bor agree­ment OK’d

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

irv­ing, texas» Base­ball play­ers and own­ers reached a ten­ta­tive agree­ment on a five-year la­bor con­tract Wed­nes­day night, a deal that will ex­tend the sport’s in­dus­trial peace to 26 years since the ru­inous fights in the first two decades of free agency.

After days of near round-the­clock talks, ne­go­tia­tors reached a ver­bal agree­ment about 3½ hours be­fore the ex­pi­ra­tion of the cur­rent pact. Then they worked to draft a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing, which must be rat­i­fied by both sides.

“It’s great! An­other five years of un­in­ter­rupted base­ball,” Oak­land catcher Stephen Vogt said.

In an­nounc­ing the agree­ment, Ma­jor League Base­ball said it will make spe­cific terms avail­able when draft­ing is com­plete.

As part of the deal, the lux­ury tax thresh­old rises from $189 mil­lion to $195 mil­lion next year, $197 mil­lion in 2018, $206 mil­lion in 2019, $209 mil­lion in 2020 and $210 mil­lion in 2021, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the agree­ment told The As­so­ci­ated Press. The per­son spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the deal had not yet been signed.

Tax rates in­crease to 20 per­cent for first of­fend­ers, 30 per­cent for se­cond of­fend­ers and 50 per­cent for third of­fend­ers. There also is a new sur­tax of 12 per­cent for teams $20 mil­lion to $40 mil­lion above the thresh­old and ad­di­tional amounts for teams more than $40 mil­lion above the thresh­old.

There will be a new penalty for sign­ing cer­tain free agents that could af­fect a team’s draft or­der. There is no change to lim­its on ac­tive ros­ters, which re­main at 25 for most of the sea­son and 40 from Sept. 1 on.

Man­age­ment failed to ob­tain an in­ter­na­tional draft of am­a­teurs re­sid­ing out­side the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, but did get a hard cap on each team’s an­nual bonus pool for those play­ers.

Ne­go­tia­tors met through most of Tues­day night in an ef­fort to in­crease mo­men­tum in the talks, which be­gan dur­ing spring train­ing. This is the third straight time the sides reached a new agree­ment be­fore ex­pi­ra­tion, but a deal was struck eight weeks in ad­vance of ex­pi­ra­tion in 2006 and three weeks ahead of ex­pi­ra­tion in 2011.

Talks took place at a ho­tel out­side Dal­las where the play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion held its an­nual executive board meet­ing.

Tony Clark, the first for­mer player to serve as executive direc­tor of the union, and oth­ers set up in a meet­ing room within earshot of a chil­dren’s choir prac­tic­ing Christ­mas car­ols. A man dressed as Santa Claus waited nearby.

While there were no games to be lost at this point, base­ball had faced the prospect of a hold on trans­ac­tions and other off­sea­son business only hours after the Mets fi­nal­ized their $110 mil­lion, fouryear con­tract for Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes.

Base­ball had eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the last a 7 1/2month strike in 1994-95 that led to the first can­cel­la­tion of the World Se­ries in 90 years. The 2002 agree­ment was reached after play­ers au­tho­rized a strike and about 3½ hours be­fore the first game that would have been im­pacted by a walk­out.

Foot­notes.

Oak­land agreed to terms with out­fielder Matt Joyce, 32, on an $11 mil­lion, two-year con­tract.

• The Twins signed for­mer Hous­ton Astros catcher Ja­son Cas­tro to a three-year con­tract worth $24.5 mil­lion.

• The Braves fi­nal­ized an $11.5 mil­lion, two-year con­tract with util­ity player Sean Ro­driguez.

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